Make Your Business Relevant

wholesale merchandise - storesDepartment stores and many retail stores were born to give their customers a great experience shopping for clothes, housewares, and virtually everything else we needed. They were designed to give us the "shopping experience" of touching, smelling, seeing, and hearing more about the products and services these establishments offered. It was an experience to go to the store or the mall and "check out" their goods. Has that day ended?


Making the transition from the Industrial Revolution where this was the "way we shopped" to the Digital/Internet Revolution has challenged these stores. With the introduction of Amazon years ago and now the onslaught of virtually every store offering their selections online with incredibly generous shipping/return policies, do we even need retail stores?


If you are thinking in terms of "products and services" the answer is moving more and more in the direction of NO. You can get a much broader selection from many more stores and find it at a lower price by sitting in front of your computer or phone than you can driving around from store to store comparing selection and prices. The day of driving and looking has all but ended... no one drives around comparing goods and prices any longer unless they just walked out of the cave last week and needed some new clothes.


TIME is the single biggest issue for people today... not enough of it and not wanting to waste it on activities that don't give them any perceived benefit. So to save time, we jump online and in literally minutes can find what we need, compare a few prices, enter our payment information, and click buy. Then it will be there in a day or two and we are done... no more need to spend the next few hours fighting traffic, looking for a place to park, hassling with crowds, and ultimately ending up with the same product.


The "Department Store and Retail Store "shopping experience based on the "product/selection" model is dead. Hopefully this is not what you are offering to your customers. This experience is for a few remaining folks who can't break out of the mold they have grown up doing for many years... not for the current day shopper.


Department and Retail stores that continue to think they can compete on product selections, "in-store only" discounts, and other gimmicks to lure the shopper in are trying to hang on to the horse and buggy while the cars are racing by. There will be a few remaining until at some point they change their model or simply cease to exist.




Stop looking at the businesses as "products and services"... accept these are now commodities... look at what you can truly offer to your customers that would cause them to WANT TO VISIT you... create something that becomes THE REASON they want to come see you. Create an EXPERIENCE THAT ROCKS THEIR WORLD AND THEY LOVE and you have created a new model they want to participate in.


There are so many great opportunities for department and retail stores to create this experience if they just stepped away from their model and thought about their customers. Unfortunately, most don't really understand their customers well enough to create this model... which is OPPORTUNITY NUMBER ONE! If they understood what their customers would really love to "experience" in their establishment then they could build this around their products and services.


The reason customers don't look beyond the products and services is because there isn't anything behind it. Take Apple for example... they have lots of stores around for people to visit... and they are jammed with people all the time. They are an EXPERIENCE for the customer. Whether you are getting something repaired or have a question or just want to learn something new they are a fun, helpful, and entertaining experience for their customers. People actually look forward to stopping into the Apple stores unlike most other retailers where they can get their product online. You can buy everything Apple offers online as well... but their customers love to go into the "Apple Store" because it is a very positive experience for them.


Translate this to your own business... whether it is retail or B2B... ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS...

  • Do we offer an experience in any way that our customers would actually want to come into our location and get?
  • Do we have anything that would cause our customers to choose coming into our location rather than doing business over the phone or online?
  • Are we designed to "celebrate" the customers that come into our location with an experience that would cause them to want to come back again?
  • Do we offer more than the "transaction" they are looking to complete when they visit our location(s) that would cause them to prefer visiting us?
  • Do we offer anything in the area of an experience that is so awesome they would want to tell their friends/colleagues about us and that they should visit us as well?


If you can't answer YES to these questions... you have an OPPORTUNITY. It's an opportunity because like your own business, your competitors are probably answering NO to these questions as well. Your opportunity is to change these answers to a YES and give your customers a reason to visit... a purpose and an excitement to visit.

When YOU GRAB THE OPPORTUNITY these things happen and you now are...

  • DIFFERENTIATED your company from your competitors
  • CHANGED their mindset from "products and services" to an EXPERIENCE
  • ENHANCING YOUR BRAND to be something unique and special
  • CREATING a WORD-OF-MOUTH engine to feed your sales and marketing


THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY for almost every industry today. The numbers are stacked in your favor since most organizations don't offer anything close to this today... they are still thinking the "horse and buggy" are going to work in the future. You are the one driving the car that is whizzing past them. This represents possibly the biggest opportunity for companies to grow, scale up, and eclipse their competition more than anything else we have seen for decades. With everything being rapidly commoditized, don't you think it's time to think differently and create a different solution?